Advice? Lost half of new blue velvets on Day 6

PurpleFish
  • #1
Here's the situation: I have a 10g classroom tank that my Wildlife Ecology class (I'm a high school teacher) has the project of making into a better ecosystem for the three platies that are in there.

After doing a bunch of research, they decided to order 8 blue velvet shrimp and they arrived last Friday. We put them in a quarantine "tank": a bucket with 2-3g of water, a sponge filter that had been in the tank for a while, java and christmas moss (which arrived a couple days before the shrimp), the sponge they shipped with, some soaked oak leaves, and a 1-2 decorations (small decoration or a plastic plant) from the established tank.

We have been testing their water every day (mostly zeros), doing water changes as needed per the nitrate tests, adding about 6 grains of fish food each day, rotating the decor when they stopped eating things off it, and have removed and replaced the oak leaves a couple times. I did drop an algae wafer in their once but they totally ignored it for the moss, so I removed it and haven't given them another. Oh, we did also add small doses of Stability in the first few days to be sure there were enough bacteria.

Then yesterday we found 2 dead shrimp (not molts, these where complete but dead shrimp) at class time and of course a spike in ammonia (1.0) and nitrate (5.0). We cleaned out the bodies, did a 50% water change (which we added slowly since it had been at room temp) and added a dose of Prime. We also put in a piece of driftwood from the tank so they could eat the film off of it. I tested again when I left for the day: ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0, and nitrate 5. I added 1 more mL of Prime and another couple cups of water.

This morning, I found one more dead shrimp :( I've only counted 3 left, though there could be 4 since we started with 7 (one of the 8 arrived DOA). I added more java moss and tests were 0.25, 0, and slightly above 0 (slight greenish tinge to yellow). I added a half capful of Stability and set up another air pump for an air stone (in case the sponge filter wasn't oxygenating enough). To be thorough, I tested and got pH 7.6 and high pH 7.8. And used a strip to test GH at 75 ppm and KH at 80 ppm (the more accurate test is at home). Throughout today, the three seem lively, always in a new place when I check, usually on the driftwood or moss. Sometimes one is making a lap around the bucket, up higher in the water.

Any ideas what might have happened? Or anything we are obviously doing wrong? I know sometimes deaths happen but I wanted to check with y'all to try to save the ones left.

Only other thing I can think of is, water temps were changing from 72-80 over 24 hrs for a few days... Our AC was being worked on so we had none for a few hot days (Sun thru Tue) but water temp changes happened slowly through the day and then night. I did use a fan, slowly adding cooler water, and floating frozen items in the water to minimize the change. But maybe that was the problem? Too much change across a few days? The AC has been working continuously since Tue afternoon though.
Oops, forgot... The Bacter AE we ordered arrived today. So I (don't have my wildlife class today) figured out the dosage and added it.
 
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BlockHead1981
  • #2
Sorry, how long was your tank cycled for? Could of been a mini cycle, that is a very small amount of water, those shrimp are pretty sensitive. The less the water the more susceptible to changes. Don't give up, cycle the 10 gallon and drip acclimate them for several hours, then check the temps from your container you use to drip acclimate and the tank, if they aren't close place the shrimp in a gallon ziplock bag and float them for 30 mins then net them and place them in the tank. Temp swings aren't great, so long as they are not drastic. I keep these shrimp in my 20 long, temp stays stable tho at 78 degrees. If you choose to quarantine, make sure your tank is cycled and setup for a couple months and I suggest nothing less than 10 gallons for these guys. I don't quarantine but that's just me. Chemicals, bacteria all great but your best bet is patience, let the tank settle. I don't even check my parameters till about 8 weeks in on a new setup. Oh yeah, it could of been a bad batch or diseased shrimp as well.
 
PurpleFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
The 10g has been cycled for 3 months with me and for 10 months before that. It was a gift from a teacher that was leaving, so she broke down the tank, drove it right over to my room (with filter and such in water) and we set it back up. The water parameters have been great for 2.5 months (had a few blips as I first got used to the tank) and the platies I added in mid July are growing and active.

But the shrimp are in a bucket with about 3g of water. The sponge filter they have was started in the cycled 10g... I rubbed the 10g filter on it when I first put it in there and then added Stability for several days to help it grow bacteria faster. When the moss arrived, we set up the quarantine bucket with the sponge filter, items from the 10g tank, and the moss. And again dosed with Stability for a few days. Then the shrimp arrived and I acclimated them over 5-6 hours to the quarantine water.

So do you think I should move them to the 10g now? While I was testing again (0.25, 0, 5), I noticed that two of them are doing laps around the bucket quite frequently... As in a few times every 5 min. They haven't done that so often in the past week.
 
Chiz
  • #4
I think that they are little risk to the platies at this point and shrimp really need established tanks to thrive. The plants are great, but they too, are new. The shrimp will enjoy them more as they age. I have plenty of healthy, pest-free blue dreams and would happily donate some to your school project. Send me a message (after you get to 50 posts) if you'd like.
 
PurpleFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thank you both for your replies! This morning I did a drip acclimation across two hours and in the process found FIVE live shrimp!!! Obviously I cannot tell the difference between a molt and a dead shrimp!

The water parameters of tank and bucket were similar, as well as temp. So hopefully they won’t be too stressed and will survive, then thrive. If not, our class will learn more, get more plants and then maybe take you up on you offer, Chiz (very nice of you, I really appreciate it!). The Wildlife class will order more plants soon. We have a thin Java fern, an Anubias (the smaller version), and then the loose Java moss, and ball of Christmas moss. Any suggestions on what to get or get more of?

The platies btw are way more interested in each other right now Breeding might be coming as there is a lot of chasing and kind of dancing going on. So in moving around the tank a bunch, they passed shrimp many times but only once did a platy seem to chase a shrimp. A few of the shrimp are out and eating, sometimes jump when the platies go by but sometimes not. Here’s some pics…
The pic with the skull in it has shrimp to the left and above the ovoid metal that weights the Christmas moss down. The other pic has one to the left of the “tap” sign.
 

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